MICHIGAN CITY | People involved in the used car business from thoughout Indiana and Illinois descended upon Michigan City on Monday with an eye on increasing profits and better serving their customers.
The Indiana Independent Auto Dealers Association hosted its annual Dealer Summit at Blue Chip Casino, attended by more than 100 independent dealers in the Stardust Event Center.
Among the guest speakers was Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles Commissioner R. Scott Waddell, who talked at length about the current goal of reducing customer wait times to 15 minutes or less at all state license branches through procedural changes already in place.
Two years ago, he said the average wait time was 30 minutes
''We're always looking to make things better,'' Waddell said.
High on the priority list for many of the dealers were changes over titling a vehicle and registration.
Waddell said the goal now is to get titles reflecting the new owners processed for the dealers in three business days and in some cases 24 hours or less.
He said branches are instructed to expedite title processing if there is time and the resources are available.
The BMV also contracts with organizations like AAA to process and return titles within 24 hours at the request of customers.
Some used car dealers said they have not seen quick title work at some of the branches.
''There's nobody doing nothing,'' said Ron Burgess, owner of Burgess Motors in Michigan City.
''They tell me come back another day,'' he said.
Many dealers, though, voiced compliments at the changes implemented by the BMV.
Enrique Castiblanco, of Chicago, was representing United Acceptance, a company that busy a portfolio of motor vehicle loans from dealers and finance companies.
He came to meet dealers and offer them an opportunity to sell their outstanding customer loans to his company, which then services the debt.
''The dealers don't have to take any more risk. They don't have to do any more collections or anything like that. They just concencrate on being more efficient by buying and selling cars,'' Castiblanco said.
Wes Jackson came from a dealership in downstate Martinsville to learn about changes in areas like titling and taxes along with customer service.
''Whatever we can learn. To make us better at our job,'' Jackson said.
Debbie Andersen, executive director of the Indiana Independent Auto Dealers Association, said experts in other areas like financing and the law were also available to share information.
She said the summit is held annually at a different location in the state.
''It is a very competitive industry, so everyone is always looking to be as competitive as possible,'' Andersen said.